You don't have to be a gear head to know that brakes are a vital component of modern-day automobiles. When you press the pedal, you want to know that your car will stop -- and stop in time. So, how do you know if your car's brakes are going bad and need to be serviced?
Pulls to the Side
Do your brakes seem to pull to one side when you press the pedal? This occurs when one area of the brake linings wears down more quickly than the rest. Pulling to the side can also occur when contaminant makes its way into your brake fluid. If the latter is the cause of the pulling, you can simply replace the brake fluid. Otherwise, you'll probably need a brake adjustment to fix it.
A tell-tale sign of bad brakes is a grinding noise. This usually indicates the pads are worn down to the metal, resulting in a distinct grinding noise from the disc and caliper rubbing each other. If not serviced ASAP, this grinding can wear down the rotors while creating an uneven surface in the process. And when this occurs, you may need to "turn" your rotors to fix them, or even replace them in severe circumstances.
Slower Response Time
How long does it take your car to respond after you press the brake pedal? If it's taking longer than usual, you may need to have your brakes services. Known as response time, it's a key indication of the health of your brakes. When the pedal begins to sink in towards the sword, you may have a brake system that's leaking. It's not uncommon for brake systems to leak either air or fluid, either of which can result in slower response times.
Do you feel vibration when you press the brake pedal? This is often a sign that the rotors have warped, in which case you'll need to have your brakes services ASAP to avoid potential collision and injury.
If you notice any of these signs, take your car to a local auto shop to have the brakes serviced.